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I recently watched the classic 1957 film '12 Angry Men' and found myself puzzled by a particular scene towards the end. In this scene, one of the jurors, who had been vehemently arguing that the boy on trial was guilty, suddenly breaks down into tears and declares him not guilty. This abrupt shift from intense disagreement to an emotional breakdown and a change in the verdict left me confused.

What I'm struggling to understand is the motivation and psychological journey of this character. Why does he transition from strongly opposing to suddenly supporting the not-guilty verdict, and what is the significance of his tears in this context? Is there a deeper symbolic meaning to this moment that I might be missing?

I'm looking for insights into the character's psyche, the film's thematic elements, or any historical or social contexts that might shed light on this scene.

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    The juror literally explains it in the movie.
    – BCdotWEB
    Nov 30, 2023 at 8:11
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    Wikipedia makes this clear "Juror 3 vehemently and desperately tries to convince the others, until he finally reveals that his strained relationship with his own son makes him wish the defendant guilty. He breaks down in tears and changes his vote to "not guilty"."
    – Paulie_D
    Nov 30, 2023 at 9:47

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That one of the jurors, #3, played by Lee J. Cobb, is "a hot-tempered owner of a courier business who is estranged from his son; [initially] the most passionate advocate of a "guilty" verdict."

As pointed out by users BCdotWEB and Paulie_D, his shift or turnaround is explained towards the end of the film, and described on the film's Wikipedia page:

Juror 3 vehemently and desperately tries to convince the others, until he finally reveals that his strained relationship with his own son makes him wish the defendant guilty. He breaks down in tears and changes his vote to "not guilty".

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    The way I read it is that he's not initially aware he's projecting his own feelings of anger and frustration and disappointment and pain towards his own son onto the defendant — and realising that is what causes his breakdown.
    – gidds
    Dec 4, 2023 at 0:31

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